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Member Since 02 Apr 2010
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Topics I've Started

Pottery Knowledge Quiz Of The Week (Pkqw): Week 1 And Introduction

Today, 07:54 AM

Hi folks,

I was going to introduce this on Thursday, but decided that may be too late in the week, so I will do it on Wednesdays.

I would like to introduce the Pottery Knowledge Quiz of the Week. This will be a four to five question quiz of general knowledge. Most of the questions can be answered probably off the top of your head, but then again maybe not. I have an extensive library, and will use a different book each week to help me with questions, and make certain I am technically correct. I will list the book that I use for the week so that if you want to find the answers, you can use the text. I will not use questions already written anywhere, but will dig into the material for questions. Hope this goes over well,




Pottery Knowledge Quiz of the Week (PKQW):


Week 1

  1. Egyptian paste is a single fired, high flint earthenware that develops its own glaze from ___________ _________ carried to the surface from evaporation.

    a. excess alumina

    b. soluble salts

    c. added bentonite

    d. sodium silicate

  2. Clay saggars for multiple firings may be made using a clay body that is high in __________ to prevent warping.

    a. lithium

    b. alumina

    c. mullite

    d. earthenware

  3. There are no federal standards for labeling ware “dishwasher safe”, yet modern day dishwashers pose two threats to ceramic dinnerware.

    Physical attack caused by a combination of __________________________results in crazing.

    a. vibration and sonic resonance

    b. alkaline detergents and water

    c. high speed water jets and soak periods

    d. high heat and moisture

  4. Many of us have been taught that wedging clay removes air bubbles that cause explosions, often dramatic, in the bisque fire. The true culprit for the “blow up” is __________________.

    a. poorly wedged clay

    b. poor uniformity of clay

    c. insufficient drying of ware

    d. bone dry ware


This weeks questions were taken from text in Answers to Potters Questions II, Ceramics Monthly.

Qotw: Participants Question Pool For Future Qotw's

Yesterday, 08:22 AM

Hi folks,

I have been working as a temp at times with the Qotw, filling in every once in a while for Evelyne. I really don't know how much to thank her for all of the hard work she has put in since she took over for Marcia Selsor. However, she has my most sincere thanks and appreciation for all of her efforts. I hope that I can do half as well. 


Many times when I was doing the temp thing, I would feel like I was digging into a deep well of darkness trying to come up with an idea, but there was no light! So I am asking for help. I would like folks to participate in helping me see a little more light by submitting a question that you think would be a good one for Question of the week.We all have personal interests, and I realize as an educator with limited studio experience that I have different interests that others, and this probably influences the questions I ask.   I usually look for questions that will stimulate some sort of conversation. I really like to know more about participants and find that the Qotw is a way to draw folks out. A large pool of questions from participants should help to overcome my personal inadequacies. This is not the only reason for these weekly queries, but it is something I have looked at. No question is too big or too small, if we have a pool to draw from, it will make things easier for me. I would reserve two rights, one that I will choose which question to post each week, and two that I am able to edit the question if need be without changing the intent. So please reply to this post to submit your own questions, and hopefully the first of these will appear next week.










Qotw: Pottery Attributes In The Studio

Yesterday, 08:05 AM

A while back, I was wandering through a gallery looking at pottery. It struck me that I had three basic things that attracted me when looking at the pots. Three things that drew my interest to a particular piece, Form, Surface, Size. The I began to wonder, what was it that I concentrated on in the studio. There was not an easy answer to this, as it has changed to some degree over the years. In the 80's I was more interested in form and size. I worked hard to refine forms on the wheel as I learned the wheel and to get the largest forms possible, 30# bowls, 6 foot high thrown forms, 25# lidded jars on down to 1# bottles. Then in the 90's forms became more of a canvas for a sort of majolica. . . painted surfaces over a white glaze. I moved away from this after a while, back to more form with simple colors dipped and poured. Now I find myself impressing texture into unshaped cylinders, and then shaping them from the inside, mostly.


So the Question of the week this week is what ceramic attribute drives your work in the studio, is it Form, Surface, Size or some other attribute I have not mentioned. Please, don't just name it, explain why.








Poor Basic Skill Sets, And Their Consequences

23 January 2017 - 07:49 PM

I have been helping with the adult Ceramics class at the High School that I taught at years ago. The class is made up of teachers in the district, mostly in other majors, with some art teachers included.

While working during the class, I noticed that one of the experienced throwers was having problems with the forms being quite often off center. I really couldn't put my finger on what was the problem as he was a left handed thrower that throws left handed. His smaller forms seemed to be pretty well on center, but when he was working larger they were off center. I had not really paid a whole lot of attention to it as, he was experienced, and I really didn't know how to approach it, but helped when I could even helping him with rim problems or form development. This last Saturday, I was throwing some pieces next to him and happened to see him centering for the first time. . . . it suddenly dawned on me. . . . he was centering on the left side of the wheel with the clay going clockwise! I asked him, where he learned to do that, and he told me he had seen others centering and that was what he learned to do. When I explained to him that he had to work with the clay going into the base of his palm braced by the arm braced in to the body at the hip, he started to realize that his centering was on the wrong side. We did moved him to the right side of the wheel, and he centered the next few pieces of clay effortlessly, and was able to throw much more on center.


Point being here, a simple foundation step erroneously learned prevented him from moving beyond smaller amounts of clay when throwing. I always stressed the basics in class, and would always tell students to learn to walk before they could run. At the same time, I tried to get beginners whether left or right handed to learn as a right hander. This may have been poor on my part, but in my classes it was easier. However, if someone could not learn how to throw on the right, I could reasonably demonstrate and help them on the left.


Have you ever seen someone struggle because of poor or erroneous understanding and control of the basics?







Studio Tips, Devices, And Throwing Aids

16 November 2016 - 04:27 PM

About to open up another can of worms here, as I a sure the GG people pro and con will pop in. Many of us have used different devices to help us with trimming, throwing and other things in the studio. Heck I remember a thread not too long ago with a home made vertical slab roller. Right now there is a great thread going on about using laser pointers as a throwing aid for repetitive sizing of pieces. With the cost of laser pointers so low-makes sense. 


So I will start this off with a simple contribution, a trimming chuck made of common plumbing parts that can be used for a very specific type of trimming I have always had problems with-chalice stems. This is made up of 3" pieces, Pipe flange, pipe, pipe hub donut, and tank to bowl gasket. The gasket is very soft, but firm. This allows the stems to be inserted into the assembly and trimmed without marking or damage. You may not throw chalice stems, but if you throw bottles, you might want to give it a try.  If you want more information, try my blog. 




So what do others of you have to offer in the way of studio tip, throwing aid or other tool for the studio?